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Prisoners go to court over IDs

Crime & Courts

Pretoria - Prisoners who cannot afford identity documents but want to vote have approached the High Court in Pretoria for help, The New Age reported on Friday.

In a notice of motion, the prisoners requested that they be excluded from paying the home affairs department the required fee of R70 to R120 for obtaining or renewing identity documents.

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Department of Correctional Services officials are now receiving managment training to assist them in coping with the increasing stress of dealing with large volumes of prisoners. A warder at an East London Prison keeps a close eye on prisoners. 241006 Picture: Steve Lawrence

Their case was scheduled to be heard on Thursday but was postponed to April 22 because the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) and the correctional services department had not filed opposing papers.

The prisoners were represented by the SA Prisoners Organisation for Human Rights (Sapohr).

Their lawyer, Legodi Boale, told the newspaper home affairs should make special provision for prisoners to vote.

“We brought this application for prisoners to be afforded their right to vote as entrenched in the Constitution... the minister of home affairs is requesting that they pay to get documentation,” he said.

“We are saying these are incarcerated people with no remuneration... so if you are telling prisoners that they must pay, you are substantially telling them not to vote.” - Sapa

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